Sinn Féin says alarming rise in jobless must be addressed
Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has supported a Private Members' Motion in the Dáil this evening which calls for shorter summer recesses for the Dáil. Deputy Ó Caoláin cited serious issues including, unemployment, privatisation and cutbacks in health and other public services and fuel poverty which need to be addressed effectively by the Government and the Oireachtas with the utmost urgency.
He said, "Sinn Féin has long argued that comprehensive reform of the Dáil and Seanad is required, including, among many other issues, shorter summer recesses. Each year the Government goes through the farce of sitting in the first week of July and returning in the last week of September so that it can't be said that the Dáil did not meet for three months, even though it will be adjourned for all but two of those 12 weeks.
"The issues now facing the country are extremely serious and they need to be addressed effectively by the Government and by the Oireachtas.
"There has been an alarming rise in the number of people unemployed in the 26 Counties. From January to May 2008 the number of unemployed people claiming benefit rose by almost 48,000. This was a rise of 31% and the biggest increase since records began in 1967.
"We must also reclaim our public services from the policy of privatisation and cutbacks. New figures show the numbers of patients on trolleys in A&E departments up to three times higher than this time last year.
"Now we find that five major hospitals - Beaumont, Sligo General, the Mid-Western Regional, Limerick, Portiuncula in Ballinasloe and University College Hospital, Galway - are showing very significant increases in numbers on trolleys in the month of April 2008 as compared to the same month time last year. Numbers trebled in Sligo and more than doubled in Beaumont and Galway.
"Increased fuel and energy prices are having profound and damaging knock-on effects throughout the economy. It is adding up to 10% to many people's weekly income.
"There must be action to address the high cost of diesel and the devastating effect of this, especially on many small businesses and on farming and fishing communities. All we have had so far is a shrug of the shoulders from Government ministers. That is not acceptable.
"In conclusion, I say to the Government that cuts will be resisted. You did not receive a mandate in the 2007 General Election to impose cuts in public services. On the contrary you promised greatly enhanced services across the board. During the referendum you treated the people with arrogance. You asked them to trust you and they showed that you had betrayed that trust." ENDS